The Alphabet Workers Union has lodged a complaint with the US Labor Board against Alphabet Inc., accusing the tech giant of unlawfully terminating contract employment for the majority of Google Help workers who were attempting to unionize.
According to the complaint, more than 70% of the proposed bargaining unit, consisting of 118 writers, graphic designers, and launch coordinators responsible for creating internal and external Google content, were informed in July that they would lose their jobs.
The workers, employed through vendor Accenture Plc, argue that Alphabet is legally their employer and have requested the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to designate the internet giant as a “joint employer.”
This designation would make Alphabet accountable for their treatment and require negotiations if they choose to unionize.
Allegations of retaliation have emerged, with Anjail Muhammad, a writer at Accenture, calling the timing of job cuts “suspicious” and filing an unfair labor practice charge. Google and Accenture deny any violation of workers’ rights and assert that the employment decisions were unrelated to potential union activity.
The dispute underscores the growing debate over contract staff’s rights at Alphabet. Recently, another group of contract staff employed by Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. voted to unionize, and the NLRB upheld a ruling that Alphabet was a joint employer in that case.
While the issue is likely to reach a federal appeals court, workers remain steadfast in their determination to unionize and assert their federally protected right to organize.
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